Community College’s Board Will Vote Again on President’s $760,000 Buyout

The Board of Trustees of the College of DuPage, a community college in Illinois, will vote again on the buyout deal it approved last week for the college’s president, Robert Breuder, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The agreement calls for Mr. Breuder to receive a lump-sum payout of $762,868 upon retiring in March 2016, three years before his contract is up.

On Monday, the board announced that it would meet in a special session on Wednesday to “clarify a procedural motion” regarding its approval of the agreement, in an addendum to Mr. Breuder’s contract.

A college spokesman would not explain in more detail the purpose of Wednesday’s meeting, and the board’s chairwoman could not be reached for comment, but the board’s announcement suggests that there was a problem with how officials handled the agreement last week. The board approved it, 6 to 1, on Thursday without publicly releasing terms until after the vote.

After approving a controversial severance package last week for College of DuPage President Robert Breuder, the school’s board of trustees announced Monday that it would meet Wednesday to deal with the contract once more, suggesting that there was a problem with how officials handled it initially.

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CUNY Campus Drops ‘Mr.’ and ‘Ms.’ to Foster Respect for Students’ Diversity

The City University of New York’s Graduate Center is advising its faculty and staff members to avoid using such courtesy titles as “Mr.,” “Ms.,” and “Mrs.” in written correspondence with students and instead to address them by their full names, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The goal of the new policy, which was laid out this month in a memorandum from the provost’s office and goes into effect this spring, is to “ensure a respectful, welcoming, and gender-inclusive learning environment … and to accommodate properly the diverse population of current and prospective students,” the memo says.

A university spokeswoman told the Journal that the policy stemmed from efforts to comply with Title IX, a federal gender-equity law. But Saundra Schuster, a lawyer and Title IX expert quoted by the newspaper, called the decision to base the new policy on the federal law “ridiculous.” “I love the concept,” she said, “but they are not mandated to do this.”

Gendered salutations represent “an outdated and unnecessary formality [that] serves no purpose other than to label and risk misrepresentation,” said Allison Steinberg, a spokeswoman for the Empire State Pride Agenda, an advocacy group for gay and transgender people. “We’re hopeful this gesture will inspire others…to follow in CUNY’s innovative footsteps.”

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Russian Spy Ring Sought to Recruit Young Women at University in N.Y.

In intercepted phone calls, participants in a Russian spy ring, who were charged on Monday, “discussed their attempts to recruit U.S. residents, including several individuals employed by major companies, and several young women with ties to a major university located in New York City,” according to a federal complaint quoted by the Associated Press. The complaint did not specify which university, but Newsweek noted that both Columbia and New York Universities have major Russian-research centers.

Three people were charged Monday in connection with a Cold War-style Russian spy ring that tried to recruit New York City residents as intelligence sources, authorities said. The defendants were directed by Russian intelligence official “to gather intelligence on, among other subjects, potential United States sanctions against Russian banks and the United States’ efforts to develop alternative energy resources,” according to a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan.

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U. of Maine System Trustees Vote to Divest From Coal Companies

The University of Maine system’s Board of Trustees on Monday voted to no longer make direct investments in coal companies, Maine Public Broadcasting reported.

The vote followed a similar action last year by the system’s investment committee. The policy is modeled after one that Stanford University approved last spring.

It does not apply to liquidation of holdings of mutual or commingled funds, something students and at least one Board member say should be considered down the road.

Trustee Bonnie Newsome says she thinks the vote is a good first step.

“But I would like to see a commitment from the investment committee to continue to consider our investments in fossil fuels generally,” she says.

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Science and Engineering Degrees Inch Up, but Progress for Women Is Mixed

Report: Snapshot Report

Organization: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

Summary: The past decade has seen a slight uptick in the share of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the so-called STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Women lost ground to men at the bachelor’s level, while gaining at the doctoral level.

Among the specific findings:

  • Since 2004 the percentage of all bachelor’s degrees earned in STEM fields inched up two percentage points for men and one for…

New Project Will Turn Out-of-Print Humanities Texts Into Free E-Books

The National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation are teaming up on a new grant program that seeks to turn out-of-print books in the humanities into freely available e-books. The project is known as Humanities Open Book.

The two organizations said in a news release that texts proposed for the Humanities Open Book program “must be of demonstrable intellectual significance and broad interest to current readers.”

The groups will give grants to publishers to identify huma…


Columnist’s Son’s Encounter With Yale Police Sparks Allegations of Racial Profiling

Yale University’s police force is facing allegations of racial profiling after a columnist for The New York Times wrote in a column on Monday that his son, a Yale student, had been questioned at gunpoint because he fit the description of a burglary suspect.

Charles M. Blow began tweeting about his son’s encounter on Saturday:


Western Illinois U. Punishes Student for Selling Video of Campus Fight

Western Illinois University has suspended a student as editor in chief of The Western Courier, the student newspaper, for selling video he recorded of a campus brawl in December, according to KHQA, a television station in Quincy, Ill.

The student, Nicholas Stewart, was told he was being punished for violating the university’s code of student conduct. In a letter, the university’s vice president for student services, Gary Biller, said Mr. Stewart’s actions represented “a threat to the normal operations of the university.” Mr. Biller also stated that neither the newspaper nor the university had received the proceeds of the video sales.

Jim Romenesko, who writes a blog on the news media, interviewed Mr. Biller on Friday about the case. According to the interview, Mr. Biller declined to say in what way Mr. Stewart had threatened the university’s operations. He also said he didn’t know how much money the video had sold for, but even $10 would have warranted the penalty he imposed. And he denied that the university was punishing the student because his video had brought bad publicity to the campus.

For his part, Mr. Stewart told Mr. Romenesko that he was seeking legal representation for a meeting, scheduled for Monday, with the university’s internal-auditing department.

“I think if the news footage Stewart shot would’ve shown sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, the University would not have investigated, much less suspended the student journalist.”–email from Bill Knight, a retired journalism professor at the university

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Amherst College Settles Lawsuit Over Alleged Rape and Withheld Diploma

Amherst College and an unnamed student have settled a lawsuit over the college’s decision last year to withhold his diploma over his alleged rape of another student in 2009, according to The Republican, a newspaper in Springfield, Mass. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, so it was unclear if the college had paid the student, identified in court documents as “John Doe,” any of the $2-million he had demanded.

The student’s accuser, identified as Student A, said he had spoken to college officials about the alleged 2009 encounter but never filed a formal complaint about it. The college withheld the diploma after Student A restated the complaint a week before the 2014 commencement.

During a pretrial hearing last year, Doe’s lawyer, David P. Hoose, told a judge that Amherst College was letting negative publicity around its handling of a number of on-campus rape allegations unfairly drive their treatment of Doe.

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Department Chair at American U. Pleads Guilty to Burglary and ID Theft

David Pitts, the 38-year-old chairman of American University’s department of public administration and policy, pleaded guilty on Friday to burglary and identity theft, The Washington Post reported. He had also faced charges of breaking into an office building and setting several small fires last September, after which the university put him on leave.

Prosecutors said Mr. Pitts had broken into the building to steal prescription drugs from a pharmacy and prescription pads from doctors’ offices. After his arrest at the scene, a police search of his apartment turned up more than 5,000 pills and prescription pads from at least nine doctors, leading to the identity-theft charge. Mr. Pitts could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

In exchange for the plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to charge him in connection with the fires on Sept. 4. But investigators were still looking into other fires that occurred on Aug. 28, 29 and 30 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.

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